Louise Laurie is Marketing Manager at Cartridge People, a leading UK supplier of ink, toner and office supplies.
Outside of work she runs helpformyscoliosis website and is passionate about raising awareness and supporting those with scoliosis – a sideways curvature of the spine – which is something she has suffered from since the age of 14.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
I’ve worked in marketing related roles for over 10 years. I’m currently the Marketing Manager at Cartridge People, having initially been recruited for a Marketing Co-ordinator role 9 years ago.
I like to think of myself as a driven and ambitious person, and always keen to develop and progress. This was recognised by Cartridge People and, after about a year in my role as Marketing Co-ordinator, I was lucky enough to be put forward to study towards and MSc in Digital Marketing Communications which helped me to learn and develop into my current role.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
No – to be honest I had no idea what I wanted to do when I finished at University. I graduated with an English Language and Literature degree in 2007. At the time, I was overwhelmed as there were many options available to me with this degree and I considered many things including teaching. In the end I decided on Marketing as I’ve always been interested in advertising and marketing, and I felt that I could also make use of the skills that I gained in my degree, especially the communication skills. Once I had decided on marketing, I started studying towards a CIM Professional Diploma in Marketing, which enabled me to get my foot in the door and helped me to secure a job as a marketing administrator at a small family business.
I was always ambitious though and wanted more, so I then started studying towards a CAM Diploma in Digital Marketing prior to securing my role at Cartridge People.
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
Oh definitely. When I was 24, I had to undergo major spinal fusion surgery for Scoliosis.
Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine, which I was diagnosed with when I was 14 years old. In my case, it was pretty severe and I required surgery to correct and stabilise my spine. Having scoliosis affected me massively growing up, physically and emotionally.
This obviously also had an impact on my career, as I was signed off sick for about 6 months following the surgery and it took me about a year to recover fully.
During that time though, I was lucky enough to have a supportive employer who let me work from home, and I used this time to continue studying towards the CAM Diploma in Digital Marketing. About a year after my surgery, I secured the role at Cartridge People who then supported me towards my MSc qualification and my continued professional development.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
I think my biggest professional achievement was achieving a distinction in my MSc Degree. I also received the best overall performance award and was awarded top performing student in MSc Digital Marketing Communications in the academic year 2014/15.
This was a huge achievement for me as I worked so hard on this course for 3 years, whilst I was working full time, which was stressful at times, but worth it for the result I achieved.
I think my biggest personal achievement to date, is probably completing a trek on the Great Wall of China to raise awareness and money for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund, which I completed in 2017.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
I’d like to think of myself as a very driven person. I never give up on anything I set my mind to, and I think this drive and determination to do things to my best ability, helps me in achieving success.
I also think that having scoliosis has made me more driven. Going through spinal surgery and the difficult recovery has made me appreciate all the little things that are easy to take for granted. In this sense, it has given me a zest for life and I became determined to live my life to the full and continually push myself.
It also proved to me how strong I am and I figured, if I can get through a major surgery like that, I can get through and achieve anything.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
I think mentoring is important. I’ve been lucky enough to have been mentored throughout my career – having that support has really helped me to grow in confidence, both in and outside of work.
If you could change one thing to accelerate the pace of change for Gender Equality, what would it be?
I have never let the fact that I’m a woman stop me or hold me back from doing anything. I think from an early age, girls should be encouraged and educated on how to stand up for their rights, especially in the workplace.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
Have more confidence in yourself and don’t be afraid to take risks and put yourself outside of your comfort zone – this is how you grow!
Also, don’t be ashamed of who you are as a person. Everyone is different and this should be celebrated – never change yourself to fit someone else’s (or societies) mould. Sorry, that’s more than one!
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
My next challenge is to continue raising awareness and money for those affected by scoliosis by running the Manchester Marathon in April. Then in October, I’m taking part in a trek to Machu Pichu.
Can you tell us a little bit about the charity you are raising money for?
Scoliosis Campaign Fund raises money to support people with scoliosis and their families, and fund research into finding the causes of scoliosis and treatments to improve quality of life for patients.
There is still little knowledge or understanding of scoliosis, which can make it difficult for people to access the care and information that they need, and can leave them feeling isolated and unsure where to turn.
Scoliosis Campaign Fund allows SAUK to continue its work supporting people with scoliosis and their families so that no-one has to go through scoliosis alone.